The collapse of the UK's third largest package holiday group has left tens of thousands of Britons stranded abroad in a variety of exotic destinations, ranging from the Isle of Dogs to Antarctica, and Butlin's Kinshasa to the Gobi Desert.
The decision to place XL Leisure Group into administration has also left thousands of its staff facing penury and starvation, and possibly having their Tesco Club cards cancelled.
XL Group Chairman Phil Twathooks, a graduate of the prestigious Uri Geller Institute for Advanced Spoon Bending, told the media he was "totally devastated" by the failure which has grounded XL Travel's 21 planes and seen the company's stock value dropping faster than a crack whore's knickers.
"We've got 67,000 customers stranded who booked directly with XL Travel, and another 23,000 who booked via other companies which were barmy enough to charter our planes", Mr. Twathooks explained. "It's fuckin' lucky me n the wife booked our three month cruise holiday with Thomas Cook's."
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reported that the group's holding company, XL Leisure, in reality had 200,000 advance bookings which were now worth less than a sock full of petrified stoat shit.
However, while many families are actually stuck at their holiday destinations, devoid of the means to re-finance their return journeys home, some enterprising individuals have expedited their own repatriation via fair means and foul.
A certain Mr. and Mrs. Ratslinger of Scunthorpe arrived back at Manchester International Airport last night from an XL Wonder Tours adventure package holiday in Afghanistan after stowing away on one of the British Air Assault Brigade's C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft carrying a cargo of fresh corpses and assorted body bits.
"We slipped into a couple of them body bags with some dead blokes", they informed astounded immigration officials.
"Better than hanging around Helmand Province getting shot at and waiting for XL Travel to get their proverbial shit together an' fly us home."
"I've seen better organised fuckin' riots," Mr. Ratslinger told the press, "Look at me new Taliban t-shirt, covered in blood n guts. The missus swapped it for page three of me Daily Sport wiv some al Qaeda bloke wiv a beard."
Frank Lugnuts, a self-employed cormorant strangler from Luton, crawled off the Calais to Dover ferry totally exhausted after hopping his way home from an XL Adventure Holidays tour of Cambodia's famous mine fields.
"It was all going well up until last week", he told reporters. "Then the crap hit the fan when I got me left foot blown off by a Claymore and we found out the tour group had gone ass-uppards. After that it all went to shit.
"The local RAC patched me leg up for nowt in Phnom Pen and I managed to swap the wife for a second-hand push bike and a box of instant Pol Pot noodlesat the slave market in Bangkok, then pedalled back to Istanbul where me bike got nicked by some Albanian transvestite with a lisp.
"So, best foot forward, I hopped me way back to Calais and caught the ferry."
Stranded on the International Space Station due the grounding of XL's Astro Tours space shuttle, one Sheffield couple faced starvation after eating their last pack of freeze-dried spam and chips and commenced munching the craft's hydraulic hoses. This led to a loss of orbital stability, causing it to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.
Fortunately the couple were able to launch the emergency escape pod at 50,000 feet and touched down safely in Cornwall.
Meanwhile the ISS plummeted on, crashing into downtown Cairo, detonating the nuclear fuel core and devastating an area six kilometres square, causing an estimated £17 worth of damage.